What's in Your Air? This is a great question, and the simple answer is this: Your Indoor Enemies.
Your indoor enemies are the contaminants in the air you breathe that trigger your allergies and make you feel miserable. Since Americans spend around 90% of their time indoors, it is important for allergy sufferers to recognize and remove these contaminants.
I can not tell you exactly what's in your air, I've never been to your home, but I can give you a really good idea. When it comes to the air inside your home, there are really three main categories of contaminants we need to discuss – Particulates, Microbes, and Gases.
Particulates are simply tiny particles suspended in the air. Should not they just fall to the ground? Yes – and no – The particles that are heavier than air do fall to the ground. Particles that are lighter than air will remain suspended and continue to re-circulate through the home.
Believe it or not, some particles can remain suspended for years! These smaller particles are the dangerous ones; these are the particles which find their way into, and embed themselves in your lungs. Examples of particles include dust, pollen, dander, dust mites and dust mite excrement, tobacco smoke and mold spores.
The microbes we are concerned with basically consist of bacteria, virus, mold and fungi. You can not see these tiny organizations without a microscope (with the exception of many molds and fungi), yet they live pretty much everywhere. You'll find them outside in the soil, in the air, in water and rocks. You'll find them inside on just about every surface of your home, office, or school, as well as floating through the air indoors.
Not every microbe is an indoor enemy. There are many bacteria, for example, that are essential to your overall health and wellness. One of the most well-known is lactobacillus acidophilus, which inhabits our small intestines and helps prevent infection and the overgrowth of harmful bacteria.
Not-so-fun-fact # 1: A University of Arizona study published in the Journal of Infection, shown typical residential surfaces like door knobs, telephones, and remote controls are more contaminated than bathroom surfaces!
Ahem … Not-so-fun-fact # 2: According to WEBMD, 80% of all colds and flu are caused by contact with germs and viruses on indoor surfaces.
Does it surprise you that your toilet is cleaner than your kitchen counter?
Common microbes include the different types of mold, and bacteria and virus such as streptococcus, staph, norovirus and influenza.
The gases are officially known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Some VOCs are manmade and some of them occur naturally. VOCs are basically organic compounds that, because of their makeup, emit chemicals into the air.
I'm just going to call them all gases. Every time I see the abbreviation VOC I tend to say “volatile organic compounds” in my head and it drives me nuts. GASES, Nate, GASES !!
Gases come at you from all over the place inside your home. Almost everywhere you look you'll find a source of gases. Some of the more common gas-producers are furniture, cabinets, carpets, cleaning chemicals, insulation, insect sprays, and hair sprays to name but a few.